When my alarm went off at 5:30 AM on Monday, there was much more of me that wanted to stay asleep than wanted to peel myself out of bed. My flesh won over, and I made it through two snooze cycles before my feet actually hit the floor.
I threw on a pair of yoga pants and rubbed the crusty mascara from the corners of my eyes. I tiptoed through the house, trying not to wake the toddler, gathering the things I needed.
With an ink pen, a journal, a glass of water and a Bible finally in hand, I quietly flipped the lock on my front door and slipped into the quiet morning that awaited me.
I took a few deep breaths, preparing myself to enter the presence of God. Still a little drowsy, I closed my eyes to just enjoy the stillness around me.
There were faint noises of neighborhood children starting to wake and the occasional motorbike passing by. Monks walking their morning route chanted blessings over those who gave food offerings.
Everything in that environment flooded me with an overwhelming calmness.
Crisp air kissed my face.
Quiet peace settled my spirit.
The Word of Truth convicted my heart.
I wondered why mornings like this are so rarely my norm.
When we were dating, I remember my husband talking about how he wanted to marry a woman who spent more time on her spiritual beauty than her physical appearance. How desperately I wanted to be that woman he described.
And how many things have relentlessly challenged this deep desire that I still have to be a woman of the Word.
Some of them are the obvious: morning routines, a busy schedule, a struggle with apathy.
Occasionally it’s even my own fear of failure that cripples me from spending time with God each day.
Sometimes I neglect to read Scripture out of guilt for not doing it yesterday. Other times I put off studying until tomorrow, hoping to have better intentions then.
There are always excuses, and the Enemy is steadfastly affirming them.
As I cracked the spine of my Bible Monday morning, he couldn’t resist but to taunt me in my failures.
This isn’t really you, Lauren. Remember yesterday when you answered emails instead of doing this? Remember last week when you struggled to stay awake during your evening meditation? Remember all of the times you’ve failed to be a devoted student of your Master’s teachings?
He poured the discouragement over my head, and painted a vivid picture of an unworthy servant approaching a Most Holy Throne. I began bending into the lies that I had no right pretending to practice my faith in this way.
Hadn’t I stumbled through my prayers last week? Hadn’t I neglected my time in the Word? Was I doing anything more than putting on a show of righteousness?
And the real answer is Yes.
Yes, I stumble through my prayers. Yes, I neglect my time in the Word. Yes, sometimes I’m simply acting out my faith.
But if I asked, Can God be pleased with this?, the answer would still be Yes.
I must believe that the blood Jesus shed so long ago holds infinitely more power than my ability to express appreciation of it.
Would I love to be a woman with a never-ending hunger and unlimited timetable to devote to God’s Word? Another Yes.
In my truest form of honesty, though, no matter how much I believe and cherish and respect the Good Book, sometimes I’m still just practicing picking up my Bible.
The Liar tells me that I should be ashamed to approach the throne in such an imperfect state. He condemns me for my lack of commitment. He shames me for my poor display of spiritual discipline.
The Enemy creeps into my mind and validates any excuse keeping me from hearing Truth because he knows what happens when I soak up those ancient words.
empowered, convicted, set free,
repentant, forgiving, gracious,
peaceful, courageous, and sustained.
My faith may waver and my spirit may fail.
But the Father is always prepared to speak Life into this woman’s heart, as it is open to His teaching.
So I must start over, morning upon morning, in the practice of picking up my Bible.
For there, in those moments of quiet instruction, is where He remakes me through the power of His Word. And if I keep at it long enough, maybe my practicing will eventually become my nature.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”